Emeril, Al Roker, Blondies, Miscellaneous Rambling

I didn’t understand the “essence of Emeril” until I ate at one of his restaurants. The man is a genius in the kitchen and the fact that these blondies are stellar is no surprise. Still, you have to be careful because there are a few things in the original recipe that are questionable and I don’t just mean the spelling of the title.

First off, the pan size seems too small. The original recipe is double this and baked in a 9 inch pan. Either the original recipe is supposed to be super-thick or they meant 9×13 inch pan because I baked half the recipe in an 8 inch square pan and the blondies seemed about the normal thickness. And second, the recipe says to “pour” the batter. There’s no way you can pour this batter because it’s thick like cookie dough. You have to plop it in and pat it.

Aside from those minor details, the results were excellent– or at least I though so. Some might not like that the base is on the dry side even with the recommended amount of accurately weighed and measured flour. To me, the base makes a great backdrop to the rich macadamia nuts and the sweet white chips. When nuts and chips are suspended in batter that’s equally gooey and sweet, you don’t get much contrast. Here, you do. But be careful, because if you skimp on the nuts and white chips you may get too much dry-ish/floury batter. And be careful not to overbake.

The other thing I like about these is the sweetness level. Al Roker’s Platinum blondies had good reviews, but people said they were too sweet. Emeril’s have less sugar and work well with the sweet and potentially annoying white chips. But to Al’s defense, in real life he may not pack his brown sugar as much so maybe that’s why on paper, there’s more. When the world gets used to weighing flour, I’m going to start a campaign for weighing brown sugar, because you get a different amount many times based on how much you pack it.

One more thing while I’m rambling. Unbleached flour works well here. If you accidentally use bleached your blondies might be a little chalky. I’ve been paying a lot of attention lately to bleached vs. unbleached and while I prefer the idea of unbleached flour (like everybody, right? ) I’m finding bleached flour gives superior results in certain cakes. But not here. Blah, blah, blah. Try these!


Macadamia White Chip Blondies

4 oz butter, unsalted (114 grams), room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar (160 grams)
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract (8 ml)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (190 grams) – if no scale, fluff, spoon gently, sweep – too much flour will make these dry.
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (2 ml)
1/8 teaspoon salt (pinch)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (a few more if you want)
1/2 cup lightly toasted or “Chef Ready” macadamia nuts**

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (176 C). Line an 8 inch metal pan with foil and spray bottom only with cooking spray.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl using high speed of an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts, mixing after each part. Before the flour is fully mixed, add the chips and nuts and mix until flour is incorporated and chips are well mixed. Batter will be thick. In Emeril’s original recipe he says to “pour” it in the pan, but I had to plop mine in and pat it down.

So “transfer” the batter to the pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 or until blondies appear set. Let them cool completely, then lift from the pan and cut into 12 bars.

** Fisher’s Chef Ready nuts are pretty good straight out of the bag.  The “Chef Ready” part is no joke.

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  1. says

    White chocolate and macadamia nuts are one of my favorite combinations! These sound and look excellent!

  2. says

    wow, thanks for the thorough review particularly the suggestion to use unbleached v bleached in these. i’ve been experimenting with both in my baked goods and it’s interested to see it applied here. thanks again!

  3. Dana says

    These look great! I always buy unbleached flour for baking, but accidentally bought bleached the other day…didn’t notice til I had already opened it, or I probably would have taken it back. Do you really notice much difference between the two?

  4. Louise says

    Emeril has never failed me. We found Emeril almost twenty years ago, before he was a celebrity chef. “New New Orleans” is a fall back cookbook for me, but I have favorites out of his other books as well. 🙂

  5. says

    I bought bleached by accident once and noticed my chocolate chip cookies were fat and puffy and had a bit of a chalky feel to them. At the time, I didn’t realize it was the bleached flour that was causing that. Todd bought home bleached flour one day and it happened again. I finally realized it was the bleached flour. I did a few tests with more recipes and noticed the muffins and cakes I made with bleached were better and the cookies were lighter (though a bit too light for my tastes). So now I use bleached for for recipes that are supposed to rise and be fluffy and unbleached for recipes that are better dense (cookies).

    Lately I’ve noticed certain cookbooks with master bakers recommeding bleached or unbleached in particular recipes. I think bleached has less protein and it surely must have a different chemical make-up since after all, it’s been bleached! It’s not something I would make a steady diet of, but for certain cakes and treats, it’s worth using bleached. Not all, just some.

  6. says

    I weigh my brown sugar. It’s just easier than packing it. (But now I wonder if the amount I use is right. I googled the weights of common items-white sugar, flour, etc- and now I wonder if the amount for brown sugar is packed or unpacked? Hmm…)

  7. Laurie says

    Hi Anna. Emeril is terrific. My girl Lily and I met him in October of 08 at Emeril’s in New Orleans. We were on a family trip (my sister got married) and were out for an evening by ourselves. We walked in to have a look around (not sure we could get in as it was very busy) and the hostess said it would be about 45 minutes. We were thinking about moving on when she mentioned that she would have two seats at the “food bar” in 30 minutes and that Chef Emeril was there working at night. Lily and I almost passed out on the spot! To make a long story short (as if that is possible at this point) we sat right near him at the food bar (he was expediting that night) and he made a big deal of Lily (she was 7 1/2 at the time), made her special food and generally treated her like a queen. We took a gorgeous pic of them together and used it as our Christmas photo. And oh yes, the food was amazing!!!!! Emeril is aces in our book!

  8. says

    I don’t know if this is accurate or true but this site http://www.joyofbaking.com/sugar.html says that 1 c. of packed light brown sugar weighs 218 grams, and 1 c. of packed dark brown sugar weighs 238 grams.
    There is a recipe in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible that calls for 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar and the equivalent weight is listed as
    3.75 oz, or 108 grams.

  9. says

    Sue, that’s interesting. I usually use between 110 and 120 grams per half cup for light brown sugar and for dark, I just go with the higher amount.

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